Farmers, Artists and Miners

Brickendon – a World Heritage Listed Colonial Farm Village is in Longford, just down the road from where we were staying. Click on the link to learn about this amazing place and the history of the Archer family. It was settled in 1824 by William Archer, and the farm has been run and lived on by seven generations of his direct descendents. There are currently three generations still living in the beautiful old homestead.  We spent a good few hours wandering around exploring the site and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. An unexpected find was meeting a lady who works there but who spent her childhood living in Hilton around the corner from where Jude and her family lived. Christine and Jude had a great time chatting about people and places in common and it would appear her brother was in some of Jude’s classes at school.

Yet another town with UK connections is Sheffield and it is in the Kentish Council area. Talk about feeling like you were travelling through England!  Sheffield, Tasmania is known for the murals which are painted on the side walls of most of the buildings throughout the town.

There is also an international mural painting competition which has been held since 2003.  “Mural Fest, a mural painting competition held in Sheffield since 2003, sees nine artists engaged in a public paint off, over six and a half days. Each artist must complete a 4800mm x 2100mm mural, all using the same poem as their mural’s central theme and concept. Each year a poem is selected from the ‘Poem Competition’ to be used as the artists’ inspiration.”  

There is so much to see in and around Sheffield, such as Devils Gate Dam, Mount Roland and Lake Barrington to name just a few. Call into the Visitor Information Centre.  Talk to the lovely, chatty, informative ladies – you will go in as a stranger and leave feeling you have made new friends!

For those of you from our home state of WA, you may know Beaconsfield is a medium sized suburb just out of Fremantle and the area where Jude went to high school. But here in Tasmania, Beaconsfield is a town, a town with a history of gold, wealth and survival.

The town began its early life as ‘Brandy Creek’ because of the colour of the water in the creek where the gold was originally discovered. It was renamed Beaconsfield, after Lord Beaconsfield, the then Prime Minister of the UK.

Gold was first discovered in Beaconsfield in 1847.  At the peak of the gold rush 700 men were employed in the gold mine and 26 tonne of gold was recovered.

It is the survival part that put Beaconsfield on the global radar back in 2006.  Ten years ago (Anzac Day,25th April) two miners were trapped one kilometre underground for 14 days after a dramatic rock fall. Tragically a third man was killed in the rock fall. The Beaconsfield gold mining operations finally ended with the closure of the mine in June 2012.

The history, the mine buildings and the story of the rescue are now within the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre and if in the area, we would thoroughly recommend a visit. However don’t leave it too long to visit as some recent news may change what is available to view – “There are concerns a 35-metre sinkhole could form at the Beaconsfield mine in Tasmania’s north, swallowing the mine’s iconic headframe and part of its heritage museum. Cracks were discovered at the mine yard in July and part of the concrete yard has since collapsed by more than one metre. West Tamar Council General Manager Rolph Vos said recent rainfall had liquidised the underground soils which were pouring down the shaft.”Those clays and sands have become wet to the point that they are moving,” he said.”As those soils disappear, it has a resulting effect in the soils above and ultimately at the surface level.”We’re advised that it will collapse, it’ll take down the winder frame, it’ll take down the sky frame.”
“It will result in a crater that they estimate to be approximately 35 metres across.” ABC News, 12th October 2016.

Our Edge Pledge Challenge

Hi there Family and Friends,

Since beginning our travels, we have become very aware of the wildlife around us and quite passionate about those animals in particular that are on the edge of extinction. Therefore we have got involved with the Edge Pledge – a social enterprise which puts people ‘on the edge’ to raise money for wildlife on the brink of extinction. They exist to create a world­wide social movement that connects people and makes them a part of an enduring environmental transformation.

We are both doing different pledges but please don’t feel you need to support both of us – one would be better than none. However please don’t feel any obligation to support either of us if this is not your cup of tea. We won’t be offended and totally understand that this type of activity is not for everyone.

If you would like to get involved simply click on the links below and it will take you to our individual Edge Pledge pages.

Many thanks, Ray and Jude


Jude’s Edge Pledge for the endangered Southern Brush-Tail Rock-Wallaby, Jude is going to either quit social media (Facebook/Instagram/Blog) for a month, lose weight or go without speaking for a week. Vote now for what she should do

Ray’s Edge Pledge to help save the Tasmanian Devil, Ray is planning to either wear nail polish for a week, go without junk food for a month or quit alcohol for a month. Vote now for what he should do

Playful Platypus, Paper Penguins & Pesky Plovers!

While based in Hobart we took a drive south west to Geeveston, a town in the Huon Valley. We had planned to stay there a couple of weeks later in the year and wanted to check the area out. There was also the possibility of a house sitting job so we went to meet the lovely homeowner who has lived in Geeveston for over 50 yrs. We were very kindly invited to have lunch at her home and we had a wonderful time getting to know Beverley, her grandson and his girlfriend. Geeveston has a strong apple growing and forestry heritage and is close to the Hartz Mountains National Park. We had also heard about the opportunity of seeing platypus in the river running through town. Beverley had never seen any so we were a little doubtful if we would be lucky enough to do so. Well they say patience is a virtue and on this occasion patience certainly paid off. The council have built a little platform over one of the banks of the river. We weren’t sure what to look for but there was an information sign nearby. It advised to keep an eye out for air bubbles rising to the surface and for ripples fanning out. We stood silently, watching closely and fairly soon we were rewarded with the most beautiful little creature paddling intently along the surface before suddenly diving down, out of sight. We watched for about 45 minutes as the platypus playfully moved along the river. It’s webbed paws propelling it along like a lean, mean swimming machine and before the blink of an eye, it dived down with ease and because the water in places was clear, we could follow it’s progress until it surfaced again. We had such fun watching and did so until finally he/she was out of view completely.

Back in Hobart we attended the Australian Antarctic Festival. Hobart is Australia’s Antarctic port and the festival celebrates the work done historically and currently.  We attended Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum which is a fascinating insight to the people and conditions of 1911-14.The museum is a replica of the huts constructed by the men of the Antarctic Expedition led by Dr Douglas Mawson during that period. The original are still in situ at Cape Denison, Antarctica.

As part of the celebrations, the local schools had been invited to produce colourful paper penguins. These were displayed on the harbor front. 

To top off our day in Hobart we attended a concert at the Hobart Town Hall. The Derwent Symphony Orchestra, church choirs and school choirs performed musical pieces that had been chosen from reading the diaries of Mawson and his men. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After two weeks in Hobart we headed north to Longford Riverside Caravan Park. Longford is near Launceston and situated on the Macquarie River. We were going to stay two weeks but stayed for three.

During our first few days we became aware of some birds living in the park. One was sitting on a clutch of eggs and we quickly found out how protective mum, dad and extended family members were. We learnt that the birds were Masked Wing Plovers and very territorial, particularly during the egg / baby chicks period. You couldn’t help pass the nest as it was on the ground on one of the powered sites near the amenities block. Jude was swooped a few times and Ray drove the car to the amenities to avoid them flying around him! Mum hatched four eggs and the chicks were cute to watch……from the safety of our caravan window!

We came home late one night to find them all outside our van. It was cute watching mum shepherd them to safety.

The Yellow Dot Road……

​We have been in Tasmania 7 weeks and the yellow dots on the map show the areas we have already explored.  14 more weeks to see the rest and also have a chance to revisit some places. We went to Cradle Mountain yesterday and seeing it covered in snow would have to be our top hilight but there are so many hilights it really is very hard to choose just one. We love all of Tasmania! 😆

We have no real plan of direction and are open to checking out various events of interest that take place. One such event, The Tasmanian Flower Expo,led us to visit a small vineyard/winery owned and run by a friend of friends of ours from the UK. Grey Sands Vineyard is in Glengarry north west of Launceston in the Tamar Valley. The owners, Bob and Rita, bought the land 30 yrs ago and have spent the time growing the vines and developing a successful business. They have also planted and grown a huge variety of trees and flowers in gardens which are stunning to wander around.We had a very enjoyable few hours there.